A-Z: Famous stories from the Bible: Naaman in the Jordan


Naaman was a general in the Syrian army, winning many battles for his king. But he developed leprosy. A young Israelite girl, a captive from one of Naaman’s campaigns, was working as a servant to Naaman’s wife. She mentioned to her mistress that she believed Elisha, the Israelite prophet in Samaria, would be able to heal Naaman of his leprosy. Hearing this from his wife, Naaman reported it to the king, who encouraged him to travel to Israel in the hope of being healed.

Naaman arrived at the King of Israel’s palace with a large amount of money and presented a letter from the King of Syria, which asked him to cure Naaman. When the King of Israel read the letter, he was worried that the Syrian king was picking a quarrel with him. But when Elisha heard what had happened, he sent word that Naaman should come to see him for his healing.

Naaman in the River JordanNaaman arrived at Elisha’s house, expecting the prophet to come out and speak words from God over him. But Elisha merely sent out a message that Naaman was to wash seven times in the nearby River Jordan. Naaman was angry at being treated in such a dismissive manner and stormed off. However, his servants flattered him that, being capable of great deeds, he was surely capable of a little task. Persuaded to bathe in the Jordan seven times, once Naaman had completed Elisha’s instructions he discovered that he was completely cleansed from the leprosy.

The story illustrates:

  • Even unimportant people can be used strategically in God’s purposes
  • God is able to heal supernaturally
  • Humans need to be humble before God rather than proud.

Related topics

Big ideas from the Bible: Miracles; Water

Bible References

2 Kings 5:1-14
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